What is softcore study of consciousness? My personal view is that softcore study of anything is study performed by people who lack hardcore quantitative skills. For example, consider the contemporary philosopher who conveys his ideas by writing large corpora of text as opposed to any type of analysis (whether it be an empirical study or dabbling in gedanken-hilbert space).
If somebody wants to convince me that I should read their long publications on consciousness, they better be a hardcore scientist and not some type of calculus-avoiding softee.
Allow me to now boast of MIT's Center for Biological & Computational Learning. It's not like I one day decided to learn about biological research; I know of Tomaso Poggio (the big name associated with this lab) because a few weeks a go I wanted to learn about Reproducing Kernel Hilbert Spaces. Awesome! These guys are no dabblers and I personally encourage them to speak of consciousness. If you take a look at their publications list you'll notice that it is well aligned with my current academic interests. Their entire research plan supports the lemma that computer vision isn't all about machines!